Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Saturday Morning in Bergmannstrasse (photo: Jonny Whitlam on

I saw this photo yesterday on one of my favourite photography blogs from Berlin: The photographer managed to capture something quite special: the houses and the trees in the background on the northern side of the street look as if they had been cut out of a much older picture. They are a bit unfocused  (it was a damp, misty morning) and wonderfully unreal, especially when looked at against the very sharp, very modern looking foreground.

Bergmannstrasse is rarely a pleasure to look at – apart from the very early hours of the day when hardly anyone is there and before the daily onslaught of vehicles and their Darwinian battles begin. Even less pleasant is navigating it in the afternoon when the pavements are chock-a-block with people, bicycles (in the process of being ridden as well as stationary), scooters, tables, chairs, benches, outstretched legs and dogs on or without leashes (in a crowded street I cannot say which is worse). Oh, and my favourite citizen of Kreuzberg is also to be seen: the balding but still sporting the NSDAP haircut nasty piece of a human (at least I think so) being on his rattling ancient beach-cruiser decorated with chains and plastic bags from NETTO. The guy who opens his ugly mouth only to offend others and who seems to believe that an 80-year-old Oma should jump off the pavement ´cos he´s coming down it like a bat from hell, sugar!

But before Bergmannstrasse turned into the Fressmeile and the Rip-Off Avenue that it is today it was a sort of a beauty: with pretty house facades, with a lovely beer garden and then a cinema where the Ärztehaus sits today like a giant white toad. It used to house plenty of small shops where things had real prices, too. And in a way that picture, especially the background, has some of that feeling. I am not focusing on the foreground too much, though. The chains and the NETTO bags might pop up out of a sudden.


  1. jonnywhitlam
    Aug 28, 2011

    Thanks ever so much!

  2. arynfine
    Oct 21, 2011

    You’re right – it does look like an ugly toad! I live right across the street and It’s a fairly depressing sight.

    I just stumbled across your blog while browsing through wordpress and I really like it. It’s great to read about my new kiez from someone who’s been here longer than we have (only 3 months).

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